While Gangnam Style never took off in Japan many people in the country are still well aware of its success.
However, given recent political tensions between Japan and Korea, and a general mutual loathing between the internet communities of both countries, Japan’s reaction to the Korean superstar’s rise to fame has been more cynical than congratulatory.
Normally, Korea wouldn’t care; after all, they’re the ones who produced the most popular video in the history of the internet. But when the Korean media discovered a Japanese manga that parodies PSY as a member of a Korean gang that abducts, tortures, and eventually rapes a group of Japanese high school girls, the internet masses erupted in fury.
The manga is titled Samuge-sō no Kimchi na Kanojo and is an erotic dōjinshi (self-published fan comic) based on the light novel and anime series Sakura-sō no Pet na Kanojo.
While the release date isn’t until December 31, a single page uploaded to the internet as a preview shows a chubby Korean man in sunglasses and a suit and bow tie yelling “Gangnam Style!” as he delivers a swift knee to the gut of the male protagonist of the anime series, Sorata Kanda.
The comic is meant to parody a controversy that occurred last month when, during a scene in the 6th episode of the anime, Sorata cooks and serves a bowl of samgyetang, a traditional Korean soup consisting of a whole young chicken.
The scene sent many viewers into an outrage as the dish prepared by Sorata in the original light novel was okayu, or Japanese rice porridge. This infidelity was apparently so unacceptable to fans that when the DVD and Blu-ray went up for sale on Amazon, hundreds of people left 1-star reviews laced with anti-Korean comments.
In the parody comic, it’s not the Japanese but the Koreans who are enraged by the “samgyetang incident”, and a group of Korean men kidnap the three main female characters and punish them by force-feeding them kimchi and other traditional Korean food before raping them.
While Koreans vehemently criticized the comic, Japanese netizens were surprised to hear that it had become such a big deal overseas as virtually no one had even heard of it before.
Thousands of erotic dōujinshi are published every year, many of which cast popular characters—both fictional and real—in lewd and sometimes offensive situations. It’s unlikely that the artist meant to insult PSY in particular—if anything, they seem to be taking a pot shot at Japanese viewers who fussed over such a trivial detail in the first place.
Still, portraying one of the biggest names of 2012 as a rapist probably isn’t the most tactful approach to satire.